Luke 19:11-27 “Occupy until I come”
After just having entertained someone who all others had avoided (Zacchaeus), Jesus was preparing to go from Jericho to Jerusalem. So what was Jesus going to do in Jerusalem? He revealed his plan in this parable about faithfulness over money. Jesus knew that money was a pressing issue for the people. That the disciples were needing to be prepared to speak on issues of import to the people. At that time, as now, it was money and how to manage it.
Zacchaeus was supping with Jesus and He shared a parable about folk who would look to control Zacchaeus (vs. 11)
The parable: This certain man that Jesus spoke of went to receive a kingdom as his own. But the citizens hated him. In fact they said, they will not let him lead them. So while he was away, he told his 3 servants to occupy while he was gone. That is to invest his money while he was gone. This turned out to be a test to see who would be capable of being the proven leader the citizens might allow to lead them.
The parable continued: So he quizzed each one upon his return and to see who was willing to be a true steward of that which he trusted them with. The one he gave 10 to reported that he was quite successful in his investments. Was he simply better than the others? Or was he able to do more with much? Or was the certain man aware of his ability to begin with? Perhaps it is all that. But understand this: to whom much is given, much is required and in this case, the one with 10 did not disappoint.
So he asked what happened to the money? How did you do? The first with 10 said, that his trust was not wasted. That the ten he entrusted him with had literally doubled. In other words the bounty he gave him had not been wasted. It instead had been sent out as a significant investment and came back with twice as much. This might say that he had confidence in the man with ten. Knowing that what he gave him would not be wasted. But it also could mean that he was wise in the recognition of his ability to be proven wise. You see sometimes folk will not trust you with much until they see that another, who has much himself already, trusts you. They will not allow you to lead them unless others speak to you skills. So by knowing the citizens hated him, and they needed a leader, he needed someone that others could speak well of. That he was ready to lead because he already proved his worth. So he said thou good and faithful servant you were a good steward over much. Therefore, emblematic of your ten that you managed well, you shall actually lead ten communities.
Likewise he testified to the worth of the one with five. But to the last, he asked what was the result of the one I gave you? The little I know I could trust you with? The small amount I know you wouldn’t waste or use to my directive; Which was to occupy? His servant answered with a litany of excuses and. complained about how fearful he was of the austere nature of the certain man. That what he laid down was what he exposed to pick up. In fact rather than being a steward or occupier he instead hid it in his napkin and hid his blessing from the world.
As such the certain man said I will judge you as by your own words. Yes, he was austere. Likely his tightwad ways is exactly why the folk in his kingdom did not want him. But he was hoping that others would be better received than he. And rather than one who would be just like him, he wanted to see his servants do better. To be brave enough to not be a copycat and unoriginal thinker. But to follow direction, invest in the banks and occupy. Instead he hid the money. The single talent. Well maybe he looked at that little and thought that his boss hated him so he wasn’t going to try. That he was not going to try any harder and just do the little bit. But God doesn’t ask us to have the faith of a fully grown plant or tree. He asks us to have the faith of just a little mustard seed. Because God can do so much with so little if we just trust him.